The Impracticability of Latin ‘Kunstprosa’

R. G. Mayer

in Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263327
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734168 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Impracticability of Latin ‘Kunstprosa’

Show Summary Details


This chapter provides a discussion that aims to offer some account of the impracticability of Latin ‘Kunstprosa’. It begins by presenting the quandary of Vitruvius. Vitruvius showed a thorough competence; his intellectual predecessors in the later Republic had provided a lesson in the logical grouping of topics, a lesson he learnt. Vitruvius’ quandary can be explained by the failure of Latin prose to provide the educated writer with workable models of sound prose style. The chapter then inspects the masters themselves, Cicero and Caesar. The period in Cicero’s oratorical prose is deemed to be generally above reproach, once allowance is made for his increasing assurance. The issue of anacoluthon in Cicero’s philosophical writings was considerably discussed at the time this essay was delivered, and in subsequent e-mail exchanges with Jaap Wisse. The chapter then turns to Cicero’s only real successor, Livy. Moreover, the origin and use of the period in formal Latin style are described.

Keywords: Kunstprosa; Vitruvius; Cicero; Caesar; Livy; philosophical writings; Jaap Wisse; Latin style

Chapter.  7839 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at British Academy »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.